portal: “Librarians of all stripes are encouraged to read these essays”.

Posted by jlubans on October 18, 2011

Dennis T. Clark from Virginia Commonwealth University reviews
Leading from the Middle in the October 2011 issue of “portal: Libraries and the Academy.”
The opening paragraph:
“Seasoned library administrator, experienced library school professor, and eminently readable commentator on the library profession, John Lubans, Jr., possesses a perspective on leadership in the library profession unique among authors of administration and management manuals. “Leading from the Middle” embodies his unique perspective in three specific ways. First, Lubans differentiates throughout the book between administration and leadership. Leadership (and “followership,” he would add) is or should be a significant factor for change at any level in an organization. Second, his focus on contrarian leadership, using change as a leadership goal, differs vastly from the rash of recently published library administration texts that typically focus on the process of management. The third significant difference is his reach outside of libraries and higher education to other industries (airlines, classical music, sports) to find wisdom that pertains to libraries.”

Mr. Clark concludes:
“Lubans has crafted an excellent primer on embracing organizational change in libraries. Librarians of all stripes are encouraged to read these essays.”
A note in passing in appreciation of the reviews of Leading from the Middle:
When I submitted the manuscript to my good friend Art Young for his thumbs up or down, I told him if he liked the ms that would nice; if he did not, that would be OK, too. I meant it.
The book really is my personal story of what and how I think about leading, managing, & following. It's based on my experience with some of the best leaders and followers and some not so great. I wrote the book for myself and figured if Art said NO, I would run off 30 or so copies, bind them, and give them to friends and family - what a Christmas present! Hah!
Well, Art wanted the book and a year later ABC-Clio put it out. They have been a fine publisher from copy editing (unheard of among some publishers, I am told), cover design (I love the design), publicity & exposure, and in their follow through on my many questions and suggestions.
I have been very pleased with how the book has been reviewed. Of course I am pleased with a review that says kind things and suggests the reviewer has read the book. What I really mean by being pleased is that the book was reviewed at all! So, the half dozen or more reviews, starting with one in American Libraries within a few months of the mid-2010 publication date, have been icing on the cake.
Also, I have been impressed with the thought most reviewers have put into what they say and I am happy that these several voices have joined me in discussing the pros and cons of a democratic workplace.

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